Discrimination Against Women In Broadcasting Rife

This year’s World Radio Day in Ghana has been observed on the theme “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Radio” Organised by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the day was observed on February 13 . Addressing a programme to mark the event, communication and media experts expressed concern over the continuous low representation of women in broadcast journalism and the absence of any media policy to guarantee their job after maternity leave. According to them, only few women journalists, reporters, producers and technicians work in media houses. Professor Audrey Gadzekpo of the School of Communications of the University of Ghana said out of about 257 female journalists interviewed in a survey, only 67 said they had ever accessed paid maternity leave. About 17 per cent of the number is in the public media and more than two thirds of men work on regular and full-time basis in news companies, compared with 30 per cent of women representation. The figures revealed that Ghana had fallen below the regional percentage of almost 40 for women vis-a-vis 60 for men who were in full time in newsrooms. Professor Kwame Karikari of the Media Foundation for West Africa called on women movements to exert pressure on media owners and managers to ensure they worked to minimise the marginalisation of women. He also urged political parties to demonstrate commitment by ensuring more women were supported to occupy very important positions, including those relating to communications. Dr Andy Ofori-Birikorang, the Head of Department of Communications and Media Studies at the University of Education, Winneba, said the discrimination against women in the media required an affirmative action to reverse. “The airwaves have frequently lagged behind when it comes to gender equality,” said Mr Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, in a statement read on his behalf. He said not enough stories about women and girls were being told and “women make up only a quarter of the members of the boards of the world’s media enterprise.” Mr Ban Ki-Moon encouraged radio stations to be more inclusive by equally recognising women in their staff and in their audience.